The Team Behind “Thief 4” Give a Small Preview of What the DualShock 4 Can Do


Sony is a company with a checkered history of controller innovation. Sure they hit a sweet spot with the basic original PS1 controller which just felt right in your hands, but the biggest tech additions to that model (analog sticks and vibration) were lifted from the successful innovations of the N64. Even then they were so unsure regarding the whole “Analog” thing, that the original model of that controller had a button that allowed you to disable it, and the first game to require the sticks didn’t come to the PS1 until 1999.

Also, as the SixAxis proved, when it comes to home brewed innovations the folks at Sony lag behind. It would seem they are really vested in changing that image with the PS4 controller, which may maintain the timeless structure of the Dual Shock model, but introduces a miniature touch area, a share button of somewhat ambiguous specific functionality, and LED lights on top similar to those on the PS Move.

While the true test of these features won’t really be applicable until developers have had a year or so to play around with it and explore their full benefits, the folks behind “Thief 4” have provided a small preview of what we can expect from this new controller, specifically as it relates to the LED bar which in the case of “Thief” will remain dark when your character is hidden, and light gradually as you become more and more exposed. They’ve also noted that the touchpad will be used for enhanced menu navigation, and the more accurate motion sensors allow them to incorporate bow aiming mechanics into it, as well as a motion controlled dash option.

They also spoke of incorporating a mechanic that would allow you to blow onto a controller to blow out candles, but that it might be removed if it is “too gimmicky.”

Granted this isn’t game changing stuff, but it does remind me of the first time I played “Tiger Woods” on the PS2, and noticed how the enhanced graphics actually allowed me to better read the course at a glance, thus improving the gameplay through a cosmetic upgrade. It’s a little touch to be sure, but its an interesting first step towards what appears to be a new day for Sony controller integration and innovation.


One Saints Row Producer Is Upset with the Promotional Focus on Porn


Featuring a level of absurdity that would make a “Looney Toons” segment roll its eyes, the “Saints Row” series features only the barest resemblance to real life, and instead promotes a sandbox world where absurdity rules the land, and you are encouraged to exploit every corner of it with maniacal glee.

Nobody really takes it seriously, is what I’m getting at.

Well actually make that almost nobody. Producer of “Saints Row 4” Kate Nelson not only cares about the quality of the game, but is also concerned about the image of the game as it relates to the use of porn stars to promote the title. Particularly, the labeling of porn actress Tera Patrick as one of the game’s executive producers, a move which Nelson has criticized as it grants an important title within the game to someone with virtually no involvement whatsoever in it.

This wouldn’t mark the first time the series has used these tactics either, as former publisher THQ used Penthouse models, other porn actresses, and various scantily clad ladies of all walks of life to promote the game in one way or another.

Besides serving as something of an insult to the development team, the larger issue that is being brought up is that such moves cheapen certain elements of the game and instead put the focus on the outlandishness, or particularly the sex elements. Even though that is certainly a part of the series, putting all attention towards those elements does mean that the freeform inventive gameplay the series truly revolves around, starts getting downplayed not only in media coverage, but potentially in design philosophy as well.

It’s no secret that sex and video games is an awkward topic, due in large part to the awkward way that it has been handled in the medium to date. While “Saints Row” isn’t exactly a paragon of virtue when it comes to the representation of women, the buck has to stop somewhere when it comes to exploiting the matter, and even in a series as outlandish as this one, it’s nice to know there is someone behind the scenes who is thinking about the effect the matter has on gameplay above all.


A Tim Schafer Designed “Game of Thrones” Style Strategy Game? Yes, Please


After Tim Schafer was done with one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time for his studio Double Fine’s entrant into the adventure genre Schafer once helped perfect, many expected to not hear from the company until “Broken Age” was completed.

It’s somewhat of a surprise then to hear today that Schafer and co. are already working on another Kickstarter title before “Broken Age” even has a confirmed release date. While it’s initially troubling to think of Double Fine’s new offering “Massive Chalice” as a reason for them to reach into your pockets again, once you actually begin read about the game, you may take up that internet joke and start willingly throwing money at your screen.

Described as a turn based tactical RPG that sees you command generations of heroes and try to repel demon hordes from a vast and intricate fantasy land ruled by factions, “Massive Chalice” cites its inspirations as games like  “Fire Emblem,” “Final Fantasy Tactics,” and “X-Com,” but also mentions the influences of TV shows like “Game of Thrones.” Collectively, of course, those are known as some of the best things ever.


In, fact, much of “Massive Chalice” reads like a best of. You’ve got the feuding factions of “Game of Thrones,” the permadeath system of “Fire Emblem,” the tactical map design from the “Total War” series, and the combat style of “XCOM” all blended together and topped with that unique dialogue and general feel that Schafer studios usually provide.

It’s that last part that really matters, as if this was Peter Molyneux preaching a game where you control a faction over generations in a multi-faceted, kingdom consuming war involving mysticism and a variety of in-depth strategy elements, it’d be easy to dismiss it as all hype. However, Schafer (and for that matter project lead Brad Muir), have a history of always delivering an experience that may not be perfect, but is noteworthy and unlike anything else regardless of where it draws inspiration.

By the project’s own admission, “Massive Chalice” is unlike anything the studio has ever attempted. Whenever one of the most creatively exciting developers out there decide to step out of their comfort zone, that’s a cause to take notice of, and one that may easily be worth the $20 backing price.


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